After years of pleading from fans, Warner Bros. is finally crafting its own cinematic universe based on DC Comics. Beginning with Man of Steel in 2013, this universe will be further expanded with next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. These will be followed by Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, Shazam, Cyborg, Green Lantern and a two-part Justice League epic. New solo films based on Batman and Superman are also in development. All of these films are expected to be released by 2020.
While this is surely an ambitious plan, it hasn’t been without its bumps on the road. The Hollywood Reporter has published an article detailing the studio’s process of crafting these movies, specifically Wonder Woman and Aquaman. For the former, WB hired five writers to draft separate scripts. Each scribe was given a treatment and assigned to write a first act. This helped the studio narrow them down to two writers: Jason Fuchs and an unnamed scribe. There was even interest in hiring Fifty Shades of Grey scribe Kelly Marcel, but her vision clashed with that of then-director Michelle MacLaren, and she was turned off by the many other players.
As for Aquaman, WB is utilizing the same “unorthodox” method. The studio hired several writers to create competing drafts, including Will Beall, Kurt Johnstad and Jeff Nichols. The latter was a rumored contender to direct the Jason Momoa-starrer. Johnstad was placed on hold “for months” while WB was defining its vision, while another writer’s work was scrapped because “…the rules governing the universe had changed and his work no longer was usable.”
Despite this confusion, WB is still very confident in these tentpoles, and it is utilizing a “filmmaker-driven” strategy. Each director will be given creative control over his or her film; for example, David Ayer has much influence over Suicide Squad. This differs from Marvel Studios, which has been criticized for compromising the visions of some directors in an effort to create a cohesive universe.
But while Marvel has a single driving force guiding these movies in Kevin Feige, WB/DC seemingly does not. Batman v Superman director Zack Snyder and wife Deborah are key players, as they are also involved with Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman and Justice League. In fact, Snyder has been particularly looked to for setting the perimeters in this universe. Also involved are DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson, chief creative officer Geoff Johns, producer Charles Roven, and WB executives Jon Berg and Greg Silverman. Additionally, there is CEO Kevin Tsujihara, a DC Comics fan who has been boasting this lineup of films. Many fans are hoping that WB will hire a single person to oversee this slate, but let’s wait and see how this multi-person approach will work.
Finally, we have a couple of tidbits on Batman v Superman. As expected, the movie will serve as The Dark Knight Trilogy Christopher Nolan’s last venture into the DC Universe (for now), as he has an executive producer credit there. Beyond that, he has no involvement in this DC movie slate. Additionally, Dawn of Justice has a budget that is “well more than” $200M. For a movie of this scale, expect that number to be closer to $250M or even higher.
So yeah, some very interesting glimpses behind the curtain at what Warner Bros. is doing. These highlight some of the setbacks the studio is experiencing, but whether or not they will affect the quality of the films – if /when they are produced – is another discussion. It will be interesting to see how the studio’s strategy differing from Marvel will work out.
For even further details, click link above to view THR’s full report. Stay tuned for more as we have it.